I was in Italy as recently as late September 2014. While it is true you see people wearing shorts, those people are generally tourists and that is the quickest way to identify yourself as such. Most Italians do NOT wear shorts in the cities (at resorts and beaches it is a different story). Most women on my tour wore capri type pants and those were appropriate and attractive; loose skirts covering the knees were the next most popular. Most pants were not denim but linen or cotton that is more comfortable in the heat and more quickly laundered and dried. Sorry, OzJohnno, but I saw people turned away from St. Peters and St. Marks because their clothes were inappropriate (knees and shoulders not covered). While you might slip past a guard, or certain churches might be more lenient, there is no sense going all that way and then being refused entrance to a site so important because you needed ten more inches of cloth somewhere on your body. Our guide was clear on our materials about which days required more modest clothing for church visits.
I actually looked up that particular dress. Interesting, but I suspect it would not work for "Bucket Grandma"! Also, a maxi would be tough when one is negotiating a hilly, cobblestone street!
You are so right, Joyce! And apart from the good point you make about the suitability of the skirt, I very much doubt the bodice is appropriate for a church visit in Italy or elsewhere ....... But it does look fab on the sweet young thing modelling it for the website. I think it might be too ... Scott McKenzie and "flowers in your hair" for the present situation. Ah, what an earworm that is.